Madrid is a big city with many attractions that are more easily accessible with a rented vehicle. The Sol and Huertas areas are convenient places to stay, near where most of the local sights are concentrated. Huertas, or Barrio de las Letras, is the historic neighbourhood where many of Spain’s literary giants have called home. Nearby is the popular Plaza de Santa Ana, full of cafes and hotels. Walk down to the eastern end of Calle de las Huertas and you’ll come upon Madrid's three famous museums: the Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-Bornemisza. Your options don't stop here. For shopaholics, Gran Via is the place to go. At night, enjoy the restaurants, bars, cafes, and clubs in Malasaña and Chueca. Don’t miss Madrid’s oldest barrio, El Madrid de los Austrias, where you’ll see majestic plazas, resplendent buidings, and historic restaurants. If you have some extra time, rent a car in Madrid to visit Alcala de Henares, the beautiful medieval birthplace of the famous writer Miguel de Cervantes, or the royal city of El Escorial.
Whether you're a history buff, arts fanatic, party person, or food lover, Madrid is ready to please. Museum hopping is easy to do here, and apart from the top three around Calle Huertas, there’s the Sorolla Museum which houses the works of the Impressionist artist Joaquin Sorolla Bastida. The National Archaeological Museum has also interesting exhibits dating from prehistoric times to the 19th century. After immersing yourself in the city’s culture and nightlife, spend some time outdoors. Take a break at Parque del Buen Retiro, one of Madrid's largest parks. It includes a lake, galleries, beautiful sculptures, and monuments. Madrid is also the home of some of the most famous Spanish football clubs. Catch a match at the Atletico Madrid new stadium, or get some prized Real Madrid tickets. If you’re in town in May, see great tennis players battle at the Madrid Open.
Madrid lies at the heart of the Iberian Peninsula on the Meseta plateau. It sits at an elevation of 646m above sea level, and is flanked by mountain ranges including the Sierra de Guadaramma, Sierra de Gredo, and Sierra del Norte. The Manzanares River flows from the mountains, passing through Madrid. The city’s architecture is a mixture of old and new, with neoclassical buildings and wide boulevards at the centre reminiscent of past glories, whilst the periphery is more modern. Madrid enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with dry, hot summers, and cool winters due to its proximity to several mountains. Temperatures in summer can reach up to 38°C, whilst average temps in winter range from 5°C to 24°C. The best periods to visit are during spring and autumn, when temperatures are at their most pleasant.
Madrid—Barajas Airport is the main international airport in the city. The journey will take you 2 hours and 30 minutes on non-stop flights from London to Madrid. Just beyond the arrivals hall are car rental agencies if you wish to rent a car in Madrid for the duration of your trip. You must be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Madrid, but some companies may require drivers to be at least 23. Surcharges and maximum age limits may be imposed by rental companies. The speed limits in Spain are 120km/h on motorways, 100km/h on dual carriageways, and 90km/h on single carriageways. In Madrid, the speed limit in the city is reduced to 30km/h, unless otherwise indicated. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.05%. Fines are high for drunk driving.